Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, has urged journalists to hold government officials accountable, rather than give them awards on the basis of “friendship”.
Wike stated this on Friday when the national leadership of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) paid him a courtesy visit at the government house in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital.
Wike, according to a statement by Kelvin Ebiri, special assistant to to the governor on media, said there was a need for journalists to put in more efforts as the “strong voice and conscience of the society”.
“What I have seen of you is that you praise us and give us award because of relationship or friendship. That’s not the way it should be. Challenge us — the people in authority — and we will sit up to our responsibilities. We will have no choice than to perform and serve the people as it should be,” he said.
“My support for you has to do with the fact that you are supposed to tell the truth of what is happening in Nigeria.
“There was a time you were exposing the ills of society. If not for you, certain things will not be known. Assume your role, grow strong again and speak out.”
He also commented on the #EndSARS protests, stating that the youth were able to organise themselves without having leaders.
“If when I castigated the operations of SARS you added your voice, who knows what good that would have achieved,” the governor said.
“Now look at what has happened. There was EndSARS protest across the country. Nobody knows how the youth were able to organise themselves without a leader.
“Up until now, intelligence can’t even know how they did it and who’s behind them. Without good intelligence, how can Nigeria even defeat Boko Haram?”